Objection to Fairbank apartment dropped


One of the main road blocks holding up the plans to build an apartment on the grounds of the Fairbank House has been removed.
An objection to the Ontario Municipal Board of the Committee of Adjustment’s decision, that allows two buildings on the property of the historic home, has been dropped.
The owner of Sunnyside Mansion or Fairbank House as it is known locally, wants to build a 16-unit apartment building on the grounds. The idea sparked concern among historians and over 2,000 people signed a petition against the move.
But David Burnie’s plans cleared the first hurdle after Petrolia’s Committee of Adjustment gave permission for two buildings to be sited on the property. The Petrolia resident Andy Hart filed an objection to the Ontario Municipal Board in February saying the committee was not aware in 2003 the town filed for a heritage designation for the home.
Hart says he filed the objection to bring to light the Ontario Heritage designation, which he believes the committee of adjustment didn’t know about.
“The 2003 heritage designation application on this property had been forgotten, was dormant but was, and still is in effect. It requires a third reading to become reality. The appeal of the committee of adjustment decision highlighted that,” he says.
“Somehow that got lost when the committee was making its decision.
“Now that council and the committee of adjustment are aware of the situation, the appeal is no longer required and has been withdrawn.”
The hearing, which was slated for July, has now been cancelled.
Mayor John McCharles says Burnie is aware the appeal has been withdrawn but hasn’t made any moves to continue his plans for development just yet.
He’s on vacation and McCharles says he will be contacting the municipality when he returns to move ahead.
Even though the appeal has been dropped, the project still has some hurdles to clear. The developer has to come up with a site plan which council can either accept, amend or reject. And Burnie has the added requirement to create a restoration plan for the historic home. It was placed on him by the committee of adjustment.
Town council has also indicated it wants to complete the heritage designation on the home, a move Burnie says he may appeal.